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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Harper guides Nationals to much needed win.

The Washington Nationals got a much-needed 2-1 win against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday to salvage a 4-6-road trip in California. Bryce Harper, who closer Rafael Soriano blamed for the 10th inning loss on Tuesday, powered the Nationals to victory both at the plate and in the field.

The Nationals appeared to be falling apart at the core at the end of the western road trip. The team had blown a couple of late leads and the offense had gone dormant. On Tuesday against the Giants, former Nationals farmhand Gregor Blanco hit a triple over Bryce Harper’s head. Soriano criticized Harper for not catching the ball, which would have been the final out. Soriano questioned Harper’s positioning in right field and went as far to say that his four-year-old son would have made the catch. Harper hesitated when going for going for the ball as if he was afraid of crashing into the wall as he did in Los Angeles. The next day, Soriano and Harper talked things out and the issue was resolved as Soriano clarified that he was not upset with Harper.

On Wednesday, in the sixth inning of a scoreless game,Harper hit an opposite field home run to the left field bleachers to put the Nationals ahead 1-0. Later in the eighthinning, the Giants would tack on a run to tie the game, but Harper made a diving catch on a Hunter Pence deep fly ballthat likely saved at least one run and preserved the tie. The Nationals did not want to lose another game in which held a late lead. In the top of the tenth inning, Harper would double and later score on an Ian Desmond single. Soriano would come in for the bottom of the tenth to secure the 2-1 victory.

Had the Nationals lost and gone 3-7 on the ten game road trip, many questions would have faced the team as they returned home for a short home stand. These questions were put to rest for now as Harper led the team to a much needed victory to finish a much more respectable 4-6 on the road trip. The Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles await the Nationals as they hope to right the ship at home in the next five days.

Mac Cassells

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